Thursday, December 27, 2007

Eric Fehr Update

It could have easily and understandably been missed, a short paragraph in the notes section at the end of Tarik's Washington Post writeup from last night's game, but it potentially has significant ramifications for the Capitals:

Prospect Eric Fehr, who has been out since February because of a mysterious hip ailment, recently has begun ramping up his rehabilitation with Hershey (Pa.) of the American Hockey League. General Manager George McPhee said last night that Fehr, a 2003 first-round draft pick, could play as soon as next month, though he likely would play in Hershey first. . . .

The Capitals have struggled to get offense from the right wing position all season as Viktor Kozlov (three goals) and Tomas Fleischmann (eleven points) have not been as productive as it was hoped and Chris Clark and Alexander Semin (who's a natural left wing) missed significant time due to injury, and Fehr is regarded as a skilled offensive player who's especially adept at scoring goals. If Fehr does continue to get healthy it wouldn't be surprising to see Fehr called up and contributing with the Capitals once he's in game shape.

That might sound silly given that Fehr has two goals and one assist in 25 NHL games. But consider this: last year Fehr put up 21 goals, 19 assists, an 18.33 shooting percentage and was +20 in 40 games with the Bears. For a young prospect like Fehr those numbers generally mean they're ready to contribute at the next level.

Now it's possible that Fehr might not play at all this season, in D.C. or in Hershey and it's possible he may play in Hershey and not quite be able to get back into the swing of things enough to warrant an NHL call up this season. But the best case scenario, given the numbers that Fehr had in Hershey last season and the way other former Bears have responded under Boudreau, is that Fehr could come up for the last 10-15 games with the Capitals and provide the same kind of impact a solid deadline deal could during the final stretch run...provided the Caps are still in it at that point, of course.

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